Israeli-linked group censoring pro-Palestine Spotify artists
In another attempt to censor pro-Palestinian content, an Israeli-linked group attempts to remove pro-Palestinian artists from Spotify,
An Israeli-linked pressure group is attempting to remove pro-Palestinian artists from Spotify. "We Believe in Israel," an outgrowth of the Britain "Israel" Communications and Research Center (BICOM), is lobbying both the UK government and the popular music streaming platform in their efforts to censor a range of artists – including rapper Lowkey.
MintPress discovered that the lobby group may have sympathetic ears in important positions in both organizations by studying their key figures.
Following a lengthy campaign by "We Believe in Israel," Spotify banned a slew of Arabic-language tracks with anti-"Israel" lyrics earlier this year. The group hailed the decision in a news release but stressed that it was merely the first stage in a much larger censorship campaign.
“It’s good news that Spotify has finally listened to public disgust about hosting clearly antisemitic content which contravenes their own content policies, including directly inciting violence against Israelis,” said the group’s director, Luke Akehurst (a Labor Party operative).
“Now we need them to look at why they are hosting explicitly antisemitic and conspiratorial songs by Lowkey and Ambassador MC,” he added, defaming both artists simultaneously, while clearly sending a signal that they were next.
Last month, it was widely reported that "We Believe in Israel" was responsible for Spotify's decision to remove Palestinian pop sensation Mohammed Assaf's "My Blood Is Palestinian" from its site. However, it was later revealed that the 2012 Arab Idol winner's songs were removed due to a contractual dispute between his record company and the streaming site.
"We Believe in Israel," which has admitted to working closely with the Israeli Embassy but insists they are not directed by them, has been lobbying for some time to have Spotify "cleansed." It launched a petition with 4,000 signatures last year and actively pushed the British Ministry of Digital Culture, Media, and Sport on the issue.
Israeli efforts to cancel Lowkey
MintPress's Mnar Adley spoke with Lowkey about the outpouring of global solidarity he has received following bogus accusations of antisemitism. The rationale for targeting Lowkey in the first place was also the reason why the scheme failed.
Lowkey developed a worldwide following of tens of millions of people as a hip-hop musician regarded as one of the most gifted of his generation. His unwavering social criticism and support for Palestinian rights may have essentially barred him from mainstream radio, but he has earned immense respect from critics, musicians, and fans alike.
His three "Long Live Palestine" tracks have become pro-Palestine anthems, and his talent has led to collaborations with some of the music industry's biggest names. The Jewish Chronicle said in 2011 that his very presence was a "potential nightmare" for "Israel." As a result, when pro-Israeli groups attempted to cancel him, they were faced with global backlash.
How did 'Israel' spy?
"We Believe in Israel's" Spotify lobbying efforts ramped up last June, at the same time the music company launched its Safety Advisory Council - a committee that would select what content to remove off the site for security and welfare reasons.
The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a London-based think tank with deep ties to the pro-"Israel" lobby, notably "We Believe in Israel," managed to obtain two members on the council.
What did the institute do?
The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, founded in 2006, bills itself as an organization dedicated to understanding and combating all forms of "political and religious extremism." Examining its founders, key personnel, output, and financial sources, however, reveals that they may have ulterior agendas.
Baron Weidenfeld, a socialite and media mogul, was a co-founder of the organization. Weidenfeld devoted his whole adult life as a political adviser and Chief of Cabinet to Chaim Weizmann, the first president of "Israel," aggressively pushing the Jewish state's expansion. This included mounting a global public relations campaign to persuade the world that West Al-Quds should be part of "Israel."
The Institute for Strategic Dialogue is funded by a host of NATO governments, including Germany, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Canada, Finland, and the Netherlands.
It is also funded by the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, both of which are subsidiaries of the infamous National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA front organization established by the Reagan administration to carry out many of the agency's most controversial (and illegal) operations.
Who paved the way?
"We Believe in Israel" is pushing for an open door by lobbying the UK Department of Digital Culture, Media, and Sport, given some of the organization's major figures, one of whom is the Secretary of State, Lucy Frazer. Frazer worked at the Israeli Ministry of Justice before entering politics and joining the Conservative Cabinet, implying that she is sympathetic to "We Believe in Israel's" goals.
In general, the Conservative Party has been staunchly pro-"Israel". The Conservative Friends of "Israel" (CFI), the party's main pro-"Israel" organization, formerly claimed that 80% of Tory MPs were members. The organization collaborates with other pro-"Israel" organizations such as We Believe in "Israel". Rachel Blain, who left We Believe in "Israel" in 2022, is currently the CFI's public affairs director.
Attempts to silence Palestine
"Israel" and its supporters have sought on numerous occasions to remove opposing voices from the airwaves or the internet as its public image is degrading. Former Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked boasted that she worked closely with Facebook to censor Palestinian voices, with the Silicon Valley company agreeing to remove around 95% of the information she requested.
Emi Palmor, a former Director General of the Ministry of Justice, now serves on Facebook's advisory council, which is ultimately in charge of content moderation on the world's largest news and social media platform.
Nonetheless, Western support for "Israel" and its atrocities is dwindling as the country loses the public opinion struggle. Faced with this reality, its supporters are increasingly resorting to illegal tactics to silence opponents.